Discrimination and the body

The Able Australia policy

Featured in

  • Published 20180501
  • ISBN: 9781925603323
  • Extent: 264pp
  • Paperback (234 x 153mm), eBook

THE WORDS ‘WELCOME’ and ‘opportunity’ are used throughout the Department of Home Affairs’ migration webpages. There is the occasional sun-drenched photo. In each portrait the smiles are wide. Everyone looks satisfied and at ease. These are bursts of liveliness amid reams of dry text. A fact sheet earnestly explains that Australia’s migration program does not discriminate: ‘This means that anyone from any country can apply to migrate, regardless of their ethnic origin, gender or colour, provided they meet the criteria set out in law.’

Given our sordid history of legislative racism, it is not surprising that the department tries to convince potential applicants that we’ve changed. The Migration Act 1958 was a turning point for Australia. The Dictation Test used to enforce the White Australia policy was abolished. Slowly, other restrictions were removed and our procedures were reformed with ‘fairness’ becoming the steady compass point for decision-making. It is a value that migrants are also expected to uphold, with all visa applicants obliged to sign the Australian Values Statement, thereby agreeing to respect the principles of ‘fair play’ and ‘equality of opportunity’.

Already a subscriber? Sign in here

If you are an educator or student wishing to access content for study purposes please contact us at griffithreview@griffith.edu.au

Share article

More from author

Convergence

FictionThe holiday brochures talk about ‘the sound of silence’ in Antarctica. That it is an experience, elliptical and expansive. This has become a long-­running joke at the base. Everyone knows that life here relies on making noise.

More from this edition

Islam in the outback

ReportageON A DUSTY corner just before the Oodnadatta Track begins to unfurl across the centre of Australia, there is an unassuming mud-walled building on the...

Settling and making a place

IntroductionAUSTRALIA WAS THE last continent to experience the transformation wrought by new settlers arriving to make it their own. For centuries, explorers had set...

The hospital for bare life

EssayAboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are advised that this essay contains references to deceased people. IN LATE OCTOBER 1959, in a small town in...

Stay up to date with the latest, news, articles and special offers from Griffith Review.